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Sklyarov Tells U.S. Court, 'I'm no hacker' 556

DaytonCIM writes "Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian programmer at the centre of the first Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prosecution, yesterday delivered his long-awaited testimony in the trial of his former employer, ElcomSoft." There are also stories at The Register and on CNET.
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Sklyarov Tells U.S. Court, 'I'm no hacker'

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  • Throw it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeatonMill ( 566621 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:36PM (#4859286)
    It seems like this case shouldn't even be happening. Adobe just wants to make an example out of someone. The problem is, they picked the wrong guy. As seen earlier on Slashdot, they haven't found a single eBook decrypted with his software, and if it isn't on (I assume they use) KaZaA, then it really doesn't exist freely. He also appears to have said all the right things in court. There is such a thing as catching a drift, and I think Adobe missed it, and is now trying to drown Sklyarov.
    • doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

      by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:39PM (#4859307) Homepage
      Under the DMCA just creating the tool is illegal. It doesn't matter if everyone or no one uses it.

    • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Informative)

      by zapfie ( 560589 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:47PM (#4859351)
      • by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:05PM (#4859442) Homepage
        Basically what Adobe is saying.

        - We want elcomsoft to not release software that breaks our unbreakable security software.

        Funny.

        You'd think Adobe would either just step up and admit they ain't got shit, or fix their software. Mostly realize you can't make bits uncopyable...

        Tom
        • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:19PM (#4859527)
          Basically what Adobe is saying.

          - We want elcomsoft to not release software that breaks our unbreakable security software.


          No. First, Adobe says right there on the page that no technology can be 100% secure. They say that, when used properly, their software protects copyrighted works. That's all they claim.

          They say that they encourage users, including "white hats," to give them feedback on their software and the security thereof.

          They say that Elcomsoft broke US law by distributing their software. They say that the US Department of Justice took it upon themselves to make the arrest and to prosecute the case.

          Whether or not Adobe's software is perfect isn't even remotely relevant to the issue.
      • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:07PM (#4859460)

        Wow, they just fundamentally don't get it:

        Q: Elcomsoft claims that it developed the software in order to let users copy the eBooks they purchased onto multiple computers. Doesn't the Acrobat eBook Reader violate the Fair Use Act?
        A: Adobe engineered the Acrobat eBook Reader to exchange eBooks like printed books. The Acrobat eBook Reader does allow customers to move the eBooks they purchase between computers through its lending and giving features. If the publishers enable these features, the buyer of an eBook can loan or transfer to another Acrobat eBook Reader on the network. [Emphasis added]

        The whole point of fair use and its ilk is that it does not require permission from the copyright holder. If I have to beg for my fair use rights, then they have been stolen from me. Forget free speech, this case is about the basic rights to own and use one's private property.

        In one of Lessig's speeches, he lists the absurd restrictions on an eBook of a work in the public domain. Who do these people think they are?!

        • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:30PM (#4859585)
          Forget free speech, this case is about the basic rights to own and use one's private property.

          Did you know that copyright holders are not required to do anything at all in order to ensure that users of their works can exercise all-- or even any!-- of the possible fair uses of their works?

          Did you know that, under the DMCA, it is not illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms for the purpose of making fair use of a work? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(B)]

          Did you know that this case rests on the DMCA's prohibition of the importation or sale of devices whose sole purpose is to circumvent copy protection? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(2)]

          Did you know that most people who complain with zeal that the DMCA is a bad law have never actually read it, or indeed any part of Title 17?

          Just some legal trivia for y'all to chew on.
          • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:39PM (#4859625) Journal
            Did you know that, under the DMCA, it is not illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms for the purpose of making fair use of a work? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(B)]

            Did you know that this case rests on the DMCA's prohibition of the importation or sale of devices whose sole purpose is to circumvent copy protection? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(2)]

            You really don't see any conflict at all between those two statements do you?
          • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by lobsterGun ( 415085 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:58PM (#4859711)
            The DMCA is a bad law because it requires an affirmative defence in order to create tools for excercising fair use rights.

            That is to say: If a developer creates a tool to enable a user to excercise his or her fair use rights, a copyright holder can have the state haul him into court and claim that the tool is actually an illegal circumvention device. The court is then forced to 'read the mind' of the developer to attempt to divine his motivations for creating the tool.
            • The court is then forced to 'read the mind' of the developer to attempt to divine his motivations for creating the tool.

              The court usually has to "read the mind" of the accused. Intent is often a very important factor in deciding whether an act is in violation of the law or nor, or in deciding how severe a violation is. So the fact that the DMCA depends on intent would not, in and of itself, make it a bad law.

              But as it turns out, that's not what the DMCA says. The DMCA says that tools that are primarily designed for circumventing the access controls on protected works, that have limited commercially significant purposes other than circumvention, and that are marketed for the purpose of circumvention may not be produced, imported, or distributed in the US. The question of the intent of the maker of the tool is not relevant. What's relevant is what the actual practical use for the tool is, and how the tool is described by its maker.
          • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @11:02PM (#4859721)
            copyright holders are not required to do anything at all in order to ensure that users of their works can exercise all-- or even any!-- of the possible fair uses of their works

            Straw man. Adobe isn't merely failing to accomodate fair use. They are actively trying to block people from using their own resources to enable fair use. That is what people are rightfully complaining about.

            it is not illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms for the purpose of making fair use of a work
            ...
            DMCA's prohibition of the importation or sale of devices whose sole purpose is to circumvent copy protection

            Put these two together. You're saying you can have your rights as long as you're an expert computer scientist and cryptographer? Nice. What about the other 99% of US citizens? In a free market, shouldn't people be allowed to hire someone else with the necessary skills or purchase a tool that enables them to do what they want? Also in a free market, shouldn't I be allowed to satisfy that demand if I have the expertise?

            Did you know that this case rests on the DMCA's prohibition of the importation or sale of devices whose sole purpose is to circumvent copy protection?

            Did you know that copyright holders can bundle extra restrictions into their "copy protection" systems that have absolutely nothing to do with the actual rights [cornell.edu] granted to copyright holders? eBooks you can't read aloud or print, DVD region coding, software that's tied to a single computer and can't be resold, and many more to come if this case is lost.

          • by koreth ( 409849 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @11:04PM (#4859736)
            Ahh, good, so if as a consumer I want to read a protected document on my Palm instead of my PC, all I have to do is go back to college, get an advanced math degree, bring myself up to speed on the state of the art in encryption, learn how to program on both platforms, figure out the encoding the document uses, write an app to crack it, and I'm all set.

            Right, best be getting to it, then.

            Good thing the law protects me from buying the end result from someone else instead of going through the process myself -- without doubt, a law that promotes that sort of self-sufficient, can-do spirit is just the sort of thing that made this country great.

            • Re:Throw it out? (Score:3, Insightful)

              by DarkZero ( 516460 )
              Ahh, good, so if as a consumer I want to read a protected document on my Palm instead of my PC, all I have to do is go back to college, get an advanced math degree, bring myself up to speed on the state of the art in encryption, learn how to program on both platforms, figure out the encoding the document uses, write an app to crack it, and I'm all set.

              Apparently, according to one of the quoted portions of the DMCA above, that would constitute manufacturing a circumvention device, and thus would be illegal. You could, theoretically, be hauled off to court for it if someone found out about it and the law were vigorously enforced.

              (2)

              No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -

              (A)

              is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

          • is that so? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ender Ryan ( 79406 )
            Did you know that copyright holders are not required to do anything at all in order to ensure that users of their works can exercise all-- or even any!-- of the possible fair uses of their works?

            No kidding, but completely orhogonal to the point. I have plenty of copyrighted works still in my head, unpublished, of course I don't have to provide anyone the means of accessing it. However, If I publish it, I sure as hell shouldn't be able to tell people who legally purchased it how they can view it.

            Copyright is another issue entirely, even though that's supposedly what the DMCA is supposed to protect.

            Did you know that, under the DMCA, it is not illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms for the purpose of making fair use of a work? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(B)]

            Yes, what's your point?

            Did you know that this case rests on the DMCA's prohibition of the importation or sale of devices whose sole purpose is to circumvent copy protection? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(2)]

            Exactly, this is entirely contradictary to the previous statement, unless exceptions are allowed for devices that circumvent copy controls for the purpose of making fair use of a copyrighted work, eg. the software in question. This is a large part of what makes the DMCA such a bad law. Another reason is that it puts the burden of proof on the accused.

            Did you know that most people who complain with zeal that the DMCA is a bad law have never actually read it, or indeed any part of Title 17?

            Is that so? Does everyone here also know that you speak from your asshole, it's just as valid a statement. I myself have read most of the DMCA, further, the basics of the DMCA are easily compressed into a few sentences. So, really, it matters little if everyone has read the whole damn thing, pages upon pages of legalese.

            Just some legal trivia for y'all to chew on

            Trivia? Taste more like shit...

            • However, If I publish it, I sure as hell shouldn't be able to tell people who legally purchased it how they can view it.

              Of course you can. It's a free country. You can tell people that they are only allowed to view your works while wearing a fez. If you make them sign a piece of paper stipulating such, that becomes a contract, and you're both bound to it. If somebody reads your work while wearing a bowler instead-- or, god forbid, no hat at all-- you can sue for breach of contract.

              On the other side of the table, a potential buyer is free to reject your terms. In other words, if you don't like the deal, don't accept it.

              Another reason is that it puts the burden of proof on the accused.

              In what way? I'm not sure I know what you mean.

              (I'll just ignore your personal remarks. If you don't want to talk with me, that's fine; you don't have to get all huffy.)
          • Re:Throw it out? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fatboy ( 6851 )
            Did you know that this case rests on the DMCA's prohibition of the importation or sale of devices whose sole purpose is to circumvent copy protection? [17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(2)]

            Did you know it makes for bad law to afford Copyright holders patent like protection on devices that display their content?


        • Re:Throw it out? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sasha328 ( 203458 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:34PM (#4859602) Homepage
          I wish I had moderating rights at the moment, because this and the parent thread should be read by all those who are breating Adobe without knowing what is it they've done wrong.
          The point is not that Elcomsoft and Sklyarov developed anti DMCA software, because they did; The point that should concern people (especially those from outside the US) is that they are being tried in the US, under US law for legal actions they committed in another country. This just shows the hypocrisy of the US government. They want others to follow their rules, but they never stop to consider others' rules.
          • Re:Throw it out? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dirk ( 87083 )
            The point is not that Elcomsoft and Sklyarov developed anti DMCA software, because they did; The point that should concern people (especially those from outside the US) is that they are being tried in the US, under US law for legal actions they committed in another country. This just shows the hypocrisy of the US government. They want others to follow their rules, but they never stop to consider others' rules.

            While it is true that the software was developed in another country, it was marketed and sol din the US. Thus, it falls under US law. If the software hadn't been marketed to Americans, and sold to Americans, through a US website, using US dollars, I would wholeheartedly agree that US law shouldn't apply in any way shape or form. But just because it was developed by a company in another country has no effect on the matter if the software is sold within the US to US citizens. Anything sold to US citizens in the US, falls under US laws.
            • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @01:05AM (#4860213)
              Your objection doesn't apply at all. Dmitry didn't go to the US to sell his company's software, he went there to give a talk. So not only did Adobe attack a Russian student for completely legal work he did in his home country, but they also purposefully accused the wrong person. If they had been serious, they would have gone after the *servers* in whatever US colo they happened to reside.
          • Re:Throw it out? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
            "The point that should concern people (especially those from outside the US) is that they are being tried in the US, under US law for legal actions they committed in another country."

            IIRC, he was arrested in the US for something he either just did or was about to do in the US. Something about a demonstration of the flaws in Adobe's encryption system, I believe.

            At any rate, the real silliness is in the law itself. You can reverse engineer something, but you can't ever tell anybody how you did it. Which means everybody has to reinvent the wheel for themselves. If that doesn't fly in the face of the original concept of copyrights to begin with (to encourage the dissemination of information), I don't know what does.

            Copyright law is supposed to be "promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts." The DMCA is doing the exact opposite. Where can we find a convenient case to take up to the USSC?
    • Misinformed (Score:3, Informative)

      The case is being brought against Elcomsoft (not Sklyorov) by the Federal Government -- not Adobe. There is such a thing as reading the article, and I think KeatonMill miss it!
    • Re:Throw it out? (Score:4, Informative)

      by SiO2 ( 124860 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:09PM (#4859465) Homepage
      It seems to me that the plaintiff in this case isn't Adobe, but the United States Federal Government instead.

      Reference this: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/07/23/233822 2&mode=thread&tid=123

      SiO2
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:36PM (#4859291)
    ...oh, hell. Nevermind. :)
    • by macdaddy357 ( 582412 ) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:17PM (#4859517)
      I don't know about Soviet Russia, but in Russia today, they have a lot more freedom of speech, and freedom to use their property as they see fit then we do here in the United States of Avarice, where only corporate robbers and looters have rights. Is it hard to emigrate to Russia?
    • by Plug ( 14127 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @04:02AM (#4860728) Homepage
      I, like a lot of other people I imagine, didn't get the "In Soviet Russia" thing that's seems to be going around /. at the moment. So I did a spot of googling and here's an explanation [morons.org].

      "In Soviet Russia, bad jokes laugh at YOU!"

      This is the style of joke frequently told by Yakov Smirnoff - a Russian immigrant comedian that was popular for 20 minutes in the 80's. It was most recently seen (sort of) on an episode of King of the Hill, where that very same joke formula was used gratuitously. Dale maced him!

      (P.S. Why can't the /. editors provide explanations in their stories!)
      (P.P.S. Instant +1 moderation for mentioning how bad the editors are?)
  • Irony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joelwest ( 38708 ) <joel.joelwest@com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:37PM (#4859296) Homepage
    The most ironic thing about the whole case is that Skylarov's (sp) company has sold to Adobe already.
    • The most ironic thing about the whole case is that Skylarov's (sp) company has sold to Adobe already.

      So, has Adobe conspired to help the rest of the Elmsoft company escape justice? Me oh my, Adobe has given money and comfort to the folks they claimed broke the law. Better call the FBI, raid their headquarters and purge that filthy circumvention software they now own. We can't let just anyone read Ebooks.

      Actually, we'de all be better off if no one ever reads ebooks.

  • by mudshark ( 19714 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:41PM (#4859320)
    but powers that be who routinely obscure the distinction would just point out that he's white....

    And speaking of the occult: if this case does get decided in favor of the DMCA, woe be unto anyone who points out that Security by Obscurity(tm) is not necessarily the bee's knees. The media thought police would love to make the leap from someone's supposition of a crack to possession of the means to do so....
  • DMCA logic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unixisnotmultics ( 617158 ) <AndrewLSMith AT hotpop DOT com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:43PM (#4859334)
    If you can get arrested for providing someone with the tools to commit a crime, how come this does not apply to anything but the software/electronics area. For example gun manufacturors do not face such action for providing people with items that could be used in a crime. even a shoe could be used to kill somebody :-)
    • Re:DMCA logic (Score:5, Informative)

      by czarneki ( 622927 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:52PM (#4859374)
      This is nothing new, you know.

      Back when the Sony-Betamax case was pending Supreme Court review, people asked how it could be that VCR manufacturers could be liable for contributory infringement of copyright simply by providing a tool that some people misused when gun manufacturers were immune from suit by murder victims. There were political cartoons to this effect.

      Then the Supreme Court thanfully (it was a close one though, 5-4, I believe, and according to some historians the dissent was originally the majority) gave VCRs a fair use out.

      Basically, the Mickey Mouse lobby is invincible. Why should they be deterred by a little logic?

    • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:21PM (#4859533) Homepage
      There are examples of controlled dual-use "tools" such as explosives and locksmithing devices. (There's a federal statute specifically for the latter, though it is a bit vague and I doubt often enforced; non-Hollywood burglars usually use less finesse :).

      Obviously you can get arrested as a conspirator, accessory, or accomplice to a crime. But liability goes further, it depends on your knowledge and exercise of due care.

      You can get in trouble for supplying a gun to someone knowing they intend to use it for a crime; you can be liable for joyriders crashing your car after you left the keys in the ignition; there is even liability for serving one drink too many to someone before they go driving ("dram shop laws"). Said liability may be civil or criminal depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances.

      Before anyone says these sorts of liability are unfair in some abstract sense of causality, I'll add that the rules were developed in an effort to reduce the overall misery by allocating responsibility efficiently and reducing opportunities for mischief. So it has less to do with condemning anyone than with dry economics. Of course the details are open to debate.

      As for shoes, well, they've been trying to get stiletto heels over 3" banned outright for years. (I'm kidding -- but I wonder if you can still take them on an airplane?)

      I *hope* this is what you were asking about!
    • Re:DMCA logic (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Christopher Chang ( 165461 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @11:02PM (#4859727)
      The problem is one of enforcement.

      If someone uses a gun to commit a crime, there is a fair probability they will be caught. The more effective a society is at catching illegal uses of guns after the fact, the fewer restrictions it needs to impose on guns before the fact. Though it should be mentioned that even if we have perfect after-the-fact enforcement, some restrictions on guns should remain thanks to the irreversibility of murder.

      The difficulty of tracking down acts of copyright infringement, combined with the suddenly huge frequency of such acts thanks to the popularization of the Internet, creates a problem. While any individual act of copyright infringement is practically harmless, when they occur in the millions they can unfairly hurt producers of content.

      There are two categories of approaches to deal with this, both of which should be employed to some degree.

      One is to ask everyone to "think outside the box" and adapt their business models to the new reality of effectively zero cost of data duplication. In the long run, this should be done in as many contexts as possible. However, the transition is not always easy, if possible at all. In the cases where it is difficult or not possible, it needs to be decided whether the old class of business model should still be kept around for the time being. While some zealots would deny it, the truth of the matter is that sometimes the answer to this last question is "yes".

      That's where the second type of approach comes in to play. Put restrictions on the tools that change what would be tens or hundreds of copyright infringements into millions of them, in a manner that's otherwise minimally disruptive. This is not a simple thing to do. The DMCA was the first attempt, and frankly I don't think it was that bad of an attempt, but clearly it could be improved. We need to find ways to let it do its job while constantly brainstorming ideas to better achieve "minimal disruption", and help society evolve to the point where few business models still need to be protected. We need to ensure that this law, in the long run, "withers away", rather than let it be like most real life Communist regimes which do not speak highly of Marx's ability to predict history.

      What we shouldn't do is retreat into a hole and ignore the problem entirely.
  • by tealover ( 187148 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:44PM (#4859338)
    Then why the hell are we supporting him? If he doesn't want to be associated with us, all he had to do was tell us.

    Pffffft !

  • by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:45PM (#4859339) Homepage
    Bigger for those of us who are not yet on trial, probably not as big for the guy on trial. Here's the thing: the legal system, as in copyright law, is so far behind the technology that it can't quite cope with what's going on. It doesn't matter what the law _is_. We have to start thinking about what the law will be. Lessig's idea that the law will be code, or rather that code will supplant law seems appropriate to think of here.

    The question I have is this: what's the next frontier? What is the next law which proves to be obsolete in our world? And what will each of us do to bring about the change? This last bit is important because, as the laws need to grow, someone will have to help them along. Those people who help the change, will likely be prosecuted because the law is there to protect someone's interests. Those interests come with a lot of money. So the law is on the old money side. The code, it seems to me, is on the new money side. I don't believe that code will lead to free (beer). There will be free stuff, but there will also be money. My guess is that it won't be the money of the blue chips unless law beats code.

    I'm rambling now. Time to shut up.
  • Legitimate use? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:48PM (#4859356)
    "the company's password retrieval programs have been purchased by the FBI, the IRS, U.S. district attorneys and U.S. police departments, as well as by private companies like Microsoft and Motorola."

    It should be interesting to hear what the "legitimate uses" sited by these people are.

  • by peripatetic_bum ( 211859 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:51PM (#4859364) Homepage Journal
    Why isnt anyone really stating that this is about a blind person's ability to read the book they bought.

    While the seller doesnt have to guarantee that his books can be read by the blind, the seller cant keep the blind from reading the book, ie using the software to 'open' the book and let him read it.

    I would like to hear a valid argument against this statement?

    thanks for reading.
    • While the seller doesnt have to guarantee that his books can be read by the blind, the seller cant keep the blind from reading the book, ie using the software to 'open' the book and let him read it. I would like to hear a valid argument against this statement?

      The Adobe eBook reader software includes text-to-speech already. Any blind person can use the eBook Reader to read-- or, more accurately, listen to-- any book in the eBook format.

      So this is most decidedly not about a blind person's ability to read, or have read to them, anything.
  • by ryants ( 310088 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:52PM (#4859375)
    In one dramatic moment in a relatively anticlimactic afternoon of testimony, Frewing forced Sklyarov to acknowledge that he didn't consider the legality of his program.

    "Isn't it true that when you wrote this software you didn't care whether it violated laws in the U.S.?" Frewing asked.

    "That's true," Sklyarov said.

    And why the fuck should he care? A Russian programmer working in Russia shouldn't have to consult the law books of every nation on Earth to see if his work may or may not violate some law somewhere. If we all had to do that, nobody would ever get anything done, and pretty much anything would be illegal in some country or other.
  • copying books (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fuzquat ( 534556 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:54PM (#4859383)

    Does Adobe give users the ability to print out copies of their e-books? If so, then they need to prosecute every manufacture of OCR software that exists.

    In fact, they need to prosecute every manufacture of OCR software anyway because it could be used to read the characters directly off of a screenshot of an open e-book.

    They also need to bring lawsuits against anyone with data entry skills because theoretically someone could read text from a screen and input it into a word processor.

    Wait, that means word processors are a circumvention device for e-book protection, but that's ok: everyone uses Microsoft Word anyway and Microsoft has more lawyers then Adobe.

    The list goes on, but the point is that data will be copied one way or another when people want to copy the data.

    Pick your favorite fix to the copyright system we have today, but it had better deal with two parts of reality:\

    Encryption can and will be decrypted.

    Content must be cheap or people will copy it.

    • Does Adobe give users the ability to print out copies of their e-books? If so, then they need to prosecute every manufacture of OCR software that exists.

      Wrong. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent effective methods of protection. Once the work has been printed, it is not protected by any device or technology. So scanning those printed pages and OCR'ing them is not illegal under the DMCA. (Of course, you may or may not be violating the copyright itself once you've scanned it, depending on what you do with it.)

      I'll say the same thing to you that I've said many times before: before making these kinds of wild-ass statements, please read the DMCA. It's Title 17, chapter 12, of the U.S. Code, and it's available on lots of web sites, including copyright.gov.
  • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:58PM (#4859402)
    My answer would have been
    Please define "hacker".
    Some dictionaries define it as follows:
    hacker
    n. Informal.
    1. One who is proficient at using or programming a computer; a computer buff.
    2. One who uses programming skills to gain illegal access to a computer network or file.
    3. One who enthusiastically pursues a game or sport: a weekend tennis hacker.
    So which one is it? Saying "yes" would be a lie either way.

    Hell, he might just have lied, when he said "no"; I would certainly label him as a hacker, using definition 1, and he might also be a golf hacker for all we know.
    • Connotation (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuggz ( 69912 )
      The connotation of hacker is bad. You don't want to create a "bad impression" in court.

      • Re:Connotation (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 )
        Exactly. This is why you need the prosecutor to define what he means by "hacker".

        Just like "are you okay?" only has one correct answer: "compared to what?".

        Doing this will result in several things:
        • You get the prosecutor out of his rythm, as he now has to answer one of your questions
        • It leaves a nice impression on the jury and judge, as you get a chance to inform them, that the word has several uses, and therefor needs to be clarified
        • You might even get to do this on several occasions, when he asks, as under different circumstances, describing yourself as a hacker would be faster and easier than describing yourself as being a very competent computer user, programmer and developer. Again, this will get the prosecutor on his heels, as he then needs to either ask you what you mean by hacker this time or simply accept that hacker isn't nescesarily bad.
        All in all it's a good thing to clarify what people mean, when what they say is ambiguous - which "are you a hacker" certainly is.
  • by Ayanami Rei ( 621112 ) <rayanami@gmaiSTRAWl.com minus berry> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:01PM (#4859420) Journal
    ElcomSoft Managing Director Vladmir Katalov took the stand after Sklyarov. He testified that ElcomSoft, which also makes password-retrieval software, has many major customers for its products, including Adobe and the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Now this is an interesting twist. I didn't know anything about ElcomSoft itself. This is like blaming the guys who make the tools used to extract keys from locked cars. Everyone curses the wind wishing they're around when you get locked out.

    Who here has not scrambled for a NT Admin password recovery disk, or a ZIP password cracker, or swapped NVRAM chips between Suns?

    They don't hide behind pretenses... they expose the poor security and help you when you are hindered by said annoyances! I believe there is insufficient evidence to make Sklyarov appear malicious, and he had little to gain personally. He exposed the information that would only be profitable within the confines of the company and his product to the public. Moreover, he warned potential publishers that the protected PDFs weren't safe. Therefore, the only person that loses out is the lazy programmers at Adobe. And he claims to be ignorant of the legal ramifications. AND WHY SHOULD HE, HE'S A FRIGGIN RUSSIAN CITIZEN (Spare me the IN SOVIET RUSSIA... replies).

    I hope to GOD that the DMCA doesn't get used to uphold lazy habits.
  • Welcome! (Score:4, Funny)

    by JanusFury ( 452699 ) <kevin.gadd@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:01PM (#4859421) Homepage Journal
    You've got Jail!

    ~ New AOL 9.0 with DMCA support now available! It's the internet, only better! ~
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:04PM (#4859441) Homepage
    The DMCA controls YOU!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:06PM (#4859447)
    I'm still not sure why Sklyarov is being prosecuted in the U.S. The alleged "crime" took place in Russia where his actions were perfectly legal. Why is an act, which may be in violation of US law, but which took place completely outside US jurisdiction being tried in a US court?

    Suppose that the Kingdom of Tuva passes a law making it a crime for any politician to accept a campaign donation from any corporation or individual who receives any benefit from a vote cast by that politician. Can the Kingdom of Tuva then try the entire US Congress? Is this any different than the US trying Dmitry?

  • by qwijibrumm ( 559350 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:14PM (#4859498)
    From the CNET Story - Instead of calling him to the stand during the trial, however, government lawyers played an edited videotape of Sklyarov's deposition and would not comment on their decision.

    I can see it now.

    "I.... LikeDOING... Illegal..... programing It... is so much fun... to see... Adobe e-books... Pirated.
    Arrrrr, Arrrr.... My former employer, Elcomsoft... is a bunch of... Pirates
    Arrrrrr. Arrrrrr"

    "So ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Dmitri Sklyarov himself said so. Do the right thing. Convict Elcomsoft. Or it won't be safe to travel the digital ocean."

    -The judge then goes home to protect his booty from the scurvy bilge rats.

  • Language barrier? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <spam&pbp,net> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:16PM (#4859513) Homepage
    I saw Dimitry at the post-LinuxWorld party to raise funds for his legal defense last year. He got up to say a few words, and although his English is much better than my Russian, it's obviously his second language.

    I honestly hope that the lawyers on both sides are doing what they can to NOT ask ambiguous questions. I hope that Dimitry clearly understands the questions they're asking him.

    Lawyers suck. I wouldn't put it past any lawyer to try to wiggle in an oddly phrased question to try to squeeze out the answer they're looking for.
  • by maxmg ( 555112 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:26PM (#4859561)
    "Isn't it true that when you wrote this software you didn't care whether it violated laws in the U.S.?" Frewing asked.

    "That's true," Sklyarov said.


    So, let's get the whole /. crowd to pitch in together, buy a small island country in the pacific, pass some idiotic laws and go after Microsoft!

  • Pecking order (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r_j_prahad ( 309298 ) <r_j_prahad@hotm a i l . com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:36PM (#4859615)
    I just killed an Adobe Pagemaker sale today. No fanfare, no big deal, I just wrote "denied" on the purchase request and sent it back. I told him to find something else, and as long as it's not from Adobe I'll sign off on it.

    That one's for you, Jon. And so's the next one. And the one after that. And as many as it takes until Adobe fully appreciates the delicacy of vendor-customer relationships, and acknowledges who's really in charge.
  • by c0dedude ( 587568 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:51PM (#4859673)
    Can anyone find a transcript of this? I'd like to read one, if one can be found.
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @11:29PM (#4859843) Journal
    ... didn't have the DMCA. Otherwise a lot of our shared history may have been lost forever. What are our decendants 100 or 500 or 1000 years from now going to know about us?

    Our creative output is going to be slowly locked away in copyright protected files never to be seen again... except to the person who originally bought the rights to view it. But they (we) will be long since dead... and the content, which will be as helpful to them in understanding their history as hiroglyphics are to us, will be lost.

    Bottom line... the DMCA, and everything it stands for, sucks. It is the epitomy of government "of the people, for the people, and by the people" gone terribly wrong.

    -S
  • by Mattwolf7 ( 633112 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @11:33PM (#4859863)
    Go to http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressrel eases/200107/dmca.html (Sorry not sure how to link here)

    Go all the way down to the bottom of the page and click on the U.S. Attorney's office link....

    Is it porn for you too? Did they get hacked?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @03:16AM (#4860625)
      According to the FBI press release:

      "A copy of this press release and key court documents filed in the case may also be found on the U.S. Attorney's Office's website at www.usaondca.com."

      Adboe did not misquote the URL. The domain appears to have changed hands as of Nov 25, 2002.
  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @01:02AM (#4860202) Journal
    "I cared about not violating the law of the country I am operating in," Sklyarov said.

    Sklyarov should not have had a responsibility to know or obey the laws of the United States, as a Russian doing work in Russia. What his employer does with the product he makes is none of his concern.

    Putting the fact that I don't agree with the DMCA (I believe it is Unconstitutional) aside, the company sold the product in the USA, and should be the one held responsible.

    Holding Sklyarov accountable is just plain wrong. US citizens wonder why foreigners hate our guts. One of the reasons is that our government feels that its laws should forced upon everyone worldwide.

    If you are a foreign programmer who deals with security issues, I'd be cautious about stepping foot in the US, at least while Bush and his administration hold power. As you can see, our government is out of control right now, and it'll take a lot of US citizens to wake up to that fact before things can really change.
  • by DaRiachu ( 265559 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @02:49AM (#4860564) Homepage Journal
    Where US corporations change CIVIL cases into CRIMINAL cases. What the FUCK is wrong with building a tool to decrypt something?! Now I guess they'll have to take the decoder rings out of cereal boxes now, huh. Or like, stop hammer makers from making hammers, 'cause like, they could be used to pound someone's head in.

    *smirk* I hate the DOJ. I can't wait until we (the generation/group of people that has two braincells to rub together) get into seniority. I'm sure that once people get the message that this is fucking STUPID (and people with a bit more integrity [if that ever happens]), these kinds of actions and these kinds of laws will be outlawed.

    Or maybe I'm just being idealistic. I just can't apathy get the best of me, 'cause I know if it's just that easy for Skylarov to say something and go to jail, then I might be next for something stupid. Oh well. :-/
  • by ssstraub ( 581289 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @03:01AM (#4860597)
    I don't know what's more unbelievable. That Adobe posted this link or that no one on /. has caught it yet!

    -Go to Adobe's press release. [adobe.com]
    -Scroll down to the last question.
    -Click on the US Attorney's office link.

    Something tells me that Sophy's going to be getting a lot of revenge real soon... LMAO!

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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